Second generation of shared mobility

At the 2018 Polis Conference, Angelo Meuleman from Taxistop gave an interesting presentation about the second generation of shared mobility. His story began with the findings of a 2017 PwC study that found that by 2030, Europe’s transport sector will require 80 million fewer cars it has than today. That’s a decrease from 280 million to 200 million cars, thanks largely to mobility sharing. The downside is that road traffic will still increase, because shared cars are used more frequently. So how do we address this challenge? According to Angelo, the answer is in our brains!

Frontal lobe vs limbic lobe

As you may know, we use our frontal lobe nearly every day to plan, organise, solve problems, and make decisions and judgements. In essence, this part of the brain allows us to CONTROL our thoughts. The limbic lobe is involved in our behavioural and emotional responses, including HABIT formation.

The traditional car-ownership concept that started seven decades ago – the one that said every household with a decent income should own at least one car – has come to be a mindset controlled by our limbic system. We just accept it, without apparent forethought or planning. On the other hand, first-generation shared mobility, which came along with the emergence of the sharing economy, became popular thanks to our frontal lobe. We choose to travel in shared cars over private cars after considering factors such as cost, convenience, and environmental benefits.

Now let’s return to the challenge noted at the beginning of this article: how do we manage the increase in road traffic? This question becomes very important in light of the projected rise in use of self-driving vehicles, many of which will be shared. In his presentation, Angelo indicated that we need to bring car usage to our frontal lobes and move our multimodal transport behavior to the limbic system. This means making the use of sustainable transport a habit. This shift will need to be supported by sustainable mobility services that address customers’ mobility needs. Internet and smartphone technology has allowed for the emergence of new mobility services that offer convenience levels similar to those of a private car. Think of ride-sourcing and free-floating car-sharing. When these are integrated with other mobility services – which is what MaaS and mobihubs do – urban transport can be managed more efficiently. While cities are continuously challenged with growing populations and scarcer space, an efficient transport system can help them regain road space and give it back to city-dwellers.

Angelo Meuleman’s full presentation can be found here.


Featured image by mobihub.

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